Sydney-based Jockey Kathy O’Hara has never ridden a horse to victory at Melbourne’s Flemington racecourse, but is hopeful of a return in fortunes this weekend when partnering the resuming Va Pensiero in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m).
Despite having never partnered the talented Stratum colt in a competitive event previously, O’Hara is confident her proven winning experience in straight-line courses will translate well to the famous Flemington straight.
“In my first tide in a straight race I won it, it was in Dubai when I was an apprentice, so it won’t be too much of an issue” O’Hara told RVN this morning.
“It’d be great if I could ride a Group 1 winner in a straight race, though.
“There are only a handful of Group 1 races down the straight so it’ll be exciting to ride in one. It’s certainly something that’s been on a to-do list of mine.”
After completing a hit-out with Va Pensiero over 800 metres at Flemington earlier this week, O’Hara said that while against the odds from the outset, she was impressed with the way he took to the straight and is confident in a successful showing on Saturday.
“He just had an easy jumpout, I just gave him a good look at the straight, put him on the outside to show him the grandstand so he could have a good look basically” she added.
“He’s obviously got a bit of work to do to win, but he’s a classy little horse and he’s in with a shout, especially at the weight.”
Trainer Jason Coyle is equally confident Va Pensiero can figure in good position in the dying stages of the Newmarket Handicap, and told Racing Ahead he is happy with form leading into the race.
“He didn’t turn a hard and he worked through the line on the bridle nicely” Coyle said of the hit-out this week.
“That sort of tops him off now for Saturday.
“He pulled up perfectly from the jump out, so hopefully he is right where he needs to be.”
Va Pensiero is currently featuring at a generous quote of $32 for 2014 Newmarket Handicap glory.
2013 Newmarket champion Shamexpress leads betting markets at $4.60 ahead of Samaready ($4.80), Lankan Rupee ($5) and two-time Group 1 winner in 2014 Moment Of Change ($10).Ladbrokes is currently displaying the best odds for the 2014 Newmarket Handicap!
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